St. Mary's University, Department of Sociology, Charles Francis Hall 202, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX 78228.
Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution: An Examination of Recent Marriages
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2012
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 74, Issue 2, pages 377–387, April 2012
How to Cite
MANNING, W. D. and COHEN, J. A. (2012), Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution: An Examination of Recent Marriages. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74: 377–387. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00960.x
This article was edited by Jay Teachman
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
An ongoing question remains for family researchers: Why does a positive association between cohabitation and marital dissolution exist when one of the primary reasons to cohabit is to test relationship compatibility? Drawing on recently collected data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth, the authors examined whether premarital cohabitation experiences were associated with marital instability among a recent contemporary (married since 1996) marriage cohort of men (N = 1,483) and women (N = 2,003). They found that a dichotomous indicator of premarital cohabitation was in fact not associated with marital instability among women and men. Furthermore, among cohabitors, marital commitment prior to cohabitation (engagement or definite plans for marriage) was tied to lower hazards of marital instability among women, but not men. This research contributes to our understanding of cohabitation, marital instability, and broader family change.